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Samsung unfolds Origami tablet in stores

Best Buy and Fry's put the Microsoft-powered minitablet on shelves, but demand still seems limited, analyst says.

Samsung's minitablet PC is finally landing on some store shelves.

The Korean electronics manufacturer said Monday that the Q1--the first brand-name device to use Microsoft's Origami Project software--is now available at all 32 Fry's Electronics locations in the U.S. as well as in some Best Buy stores in Texas.

Until now, the Q1 has been sold online only by Best Buy and CDW. Samsung said in a statement that it has seen "strong initial sales," but the company declined to offer specifics. Samsung launched the $1,100 Windows XP machine last month.

Samsung's Q1

IDC analyst Richard Shim said demand for the device still appears to be fairly limited.

"If there were truly big demand for this, you'd think it would be a nationwide Best Buy move, rather than just in Texas," Shim said.

There was much buzz surrounding the Origami effort, but as details of the minitablet emerged, some of the enthusiasm waned. Analysts said the first crop of devices was likely to appeal only to gadget enthusiasts, given their high price tag and the fact they only offer a couple hours of battery life.

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Video: Samsung shows off Q1
H.S. Kim, Samsung's executive vice president and general manager of computer systems, rolls out the company's new Q1 in San Francisco.

Shim also noted that there's been little interest from either big name computer makers or from the Asian contract manufacturers that make a substantial portion of the world's portable computers.

"We haven't heard from any of the other PC makers or other major brand names that they are coming out with models in the near term, so it makes me think the market is still limited," Shim said.

Microsoft has said a new crop of devices, code-named "Vistagami" will ship early next year, along with updated software based on Windows Vista.